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  • 30 May 2020 6:51 PM | Anonymous

    “I can’t breathe,” three painful words seared into the memory of New Yorkers as Eric Garner pleaded for his life six years ago, were repeated last week in Minneapolis. The callousness and cruelty demonstrated by the murder of George Floyd lays bare the persistent dehumanization of Black lives in America – where a police officer casually kept his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck, long after his body lay motionless. Mr. Floyd is just another example, along with Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and so many others, in a series of Black Americans irrationally killed by law enforcement or by those emboldened by stand your ground laws.

    Whether birdwatching in a park, jogging, or simply sleeping at home, it is made clear time and again that a broken system alongside skewed societal norms advance and protect one segment of the population over the other. Our tradition encourages us to stand against injustice and to support the weak, help the oppressed, and spread peace.  As a community, we should take this time to consider how our actions may contribute and further these systemic failures and empower those within our communities whose voices are often not given space.

    MuBANY grieves for all the lives needlessly lost and stands with those seeking systemic change both within and outside our communities to eradicate the blight of white supremacy, bigotry, racism, and xenophobia from our institutions and hearts.  We will seek opportunities to support those working towards justice and peace and we welcome any thoughts on achieving this goal from our membership.

  • 11 May 2020 10:48 AM | Anonymous

    We are pleased to announce the candidates running for officer and director positions below.  There are seven candidates running for five director positions. Get to know them by reading their candidate statements below or on the website.  

    President

    Sania Khan 

    My name is Sania Khan, and I am running for the position of President of MuBANY for the 2020-2022 term. I am an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Bureau at the New York State Attorney General’s Office, where my practice is focused on technology & civil rights, the prevention and prosecution of hate crimes, and impact litigation with respect to Federal initiatives in the civil rights context.
    I believe my institutional knowledge of and vision for MuBANY make me the right candidate for President during this term.

    First, my experience with MuBANY includes serving as Treasurer during the 2019-2020 term, Director for the previous two terms, and in 2015 leading the creation of a CLE on the Basics of Islam that was sponsored by MuBANY and held at the New York City Bar Association. In my capacity as both Director and Treasurer, I served as co-chair of MuBANY's 2019 and 2020 gala committees, and was a member of the 2018 gala committee. In 2019, alongside my co-chair Saira Khan, we oversaw a record-breaking amount of sponsorships, and were able to secure attendance of many members of the Federal and State judiciary at the gala, which diversified MuBANY's exposure and membership. This year, before postponement of the 2020 gala, Saira and I created a judiciary liaison position and committee housed within the gala committee, which led to commitment of attendance from over a dozen members of the Federal and State judiciary for our upcoming gala. The gala committee also raised a significant amount of sponsorships, in line with the previous year. We hope that when things return to some sense of normal, we are able to hold the gala in better times. In addition, most recently I led the development of MuBANY's COVID-19 Resource Page.

    I am running for President because I believe that MuBANY is uniquely situated to be a resource for our membership and the broader NY legal community, especially in this moment. I envision MuBANY's next term to include:
    • IDENTIFICATION OF POST-COVID NEEDS FOR MUBANY MEMBERSHIP: I believe that knowing and understanding membership needs will be a first-step to vision setting for this term. One specific area in which I believe needs identification will be key is with respect to job searches, attorney referrals, and/or other similar resources. These needs could be identified through a survey to our membership. Answers to this survey will inform whether specific committees should be developed, and whether a job posting page would be useful to membership. 
    • INCREASE PROFILE OF MUBANY IN BROADER LEGAL COMMUNITY THROUGH STRATEGIC OUTREACH: 
      • Further collaborate with National, State, City, and minority bar associations on pro bono initiatives, as well as programming 
      • Deepen relationships with both the Federal and State Judiciary through continuation of MuBANY's judiciary liaison and committee 
      • Deepen relationships with affinity groups at sponsoring firms of MuBANY to ensure that MuBANY member attorneys feel supported, and opportunities are flagged for the membership 
      • Deepen MuBANY's relationships with Muslim Law Student Associations' in the tri-state area to collaborate both on programming, and to ensure law students have support if employed in NYC
      • Broaden MuBANY's Partner Circle 
    • CONSISTENT PROGRAMMING AND COMMUNITY-BUILDING: First, I believe consistent programming for all levels of membership is critical. This includes programming for recent graduates who may be looking for internships/jobs in a post-COVID economy, mid-career attorneys looking for leadership roles or to deepen certain areas of practice, and opportunities for folks in the partner circle to discuss broader trends/issues faced at that level. Second, I believe we will have to find more creative ways to build community through virtual social events.

    Vice President

    Shabbir Chaudhury

    My name is Shabbir Chaudhury and I am asking for your support to become MuBANY’s next Vice President.  I am currently Senior Counsel at MetLife, where I work on mergers and acquisitions and other transactional matters.  Previously, I was in MetLife’s litigation department and have almost a decade of litigation experience.  I have held various leadership positions with MuBANY, currently as Secretary, and previously as In House Counsel Chair and Director.  MuBANY has been instrumental in my career development and I am honored to give back to the organization by continuing to serve in a leadership capacity. 

    Over the past years, MuBANY has made great strides in developing relationships with the judiciary, law firms, government officials, and local bar associations.  These successes can be seen at our annual Gala, which hosts many people from these institutions. I am proud to see our organization grow as we build on these relationships.  However, our work is not done.  As Vice President, I hope to continue building on these relationships to help more Muslim attorneys ascend to the bench, partnership, and senior roles in profit and not-for-profit institutions.  During the next term, the following are my priorities for MuBANY’s continued growth:

    Address COVID-19 Employment Impact on Membership.  Unfortunately, the pandemic is greatly impacting every person in the city, state, and country.  MuBANY will assess the needs of its members and create programming to help.  For example, MuBANY can arrange webinars or panels discussing topics like resume writing and improving LinkedIn profiles.
    Assist Members with Career Advancement.  MuBANY will continue supporting members seeking advancement in law firm, corporate and non-profit roles. MuBANY can connect members through intimate gatherings with individuals who have attained those professional advancements so we can learn from one another and grow.
    Support the Advancement of Muslim Attorneys in the Judiciary.  MuBANY will continue developing relationships with officials familiar with the judicial selections process and assist members interested in the judiciary with the process.
    Strengthen Relationships with Bar Associations.  MuBANY will continue developing strong relationships with local bar associations, and get members to be actively engaged with these associations by serving on committees and in leadership positions.
    Build Coalitions to Take Civic and Legal Actions.  MuBANY has worked with institutions to lead actions, including signing on to many amicus briefs.  MuBANY will continue this and other strategies to stand up for what is right.
    Over the past decade, MuBANY has grown from an association for Muslim attorneys to a voice representing the legal needs of the Muslim-American community. I would like to continue building upon that growth and help MuBANY and its members progress further. I thank you for your consideration.

    Treasurer

    Saira Hasan Khan

    I believe that my work with MuBANY over the years, in particular as the 2019 Annual Gala Committee Co-Chair (with Sania Khan) and then as a Director and the 2020 Annual Gala Committee Co-Chair (again with Sania Khan), has given me insight into the institution, familiarity with the organization, and a vision for the coming years that would be facilitated by my role as Treasurer for the coming term. My work both years as the Gala Committee Co-Chair involved liaising with sponsors (mostly firms in the private sector) to secure funding, and for the 2019 Annual Gala we raised a record-breaking amount of funding for the event. The majority of those same sponsors had committed again to the 2020 Annual Gala before it was postponed indefinitely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we hope that they will continue to support the event when rescheduled as well as future events.

    Critical to the fundraising were many of the relationships with these firms that I have developed over the course of my legal career, both practicing at a law firm as well as in-house counsel. I hope to continue to be involved with the gala, and I believe the logistics of being involved with the gala lend themselves naturally to many of the responsibilities that the Treasurer would undertake for the organization.

    During the course of our involvement with the gala, Sania and I also focused on increasing judiciary attendance (both from the Federal and State judiciary) at the event, raising the prominence of the event, and preserving information that will be helpful for future boards and gala committees.  

    Outside of the involvement with the gala, I was focused on building MuBANY’s relationship with law firms, including their affinity groups, encouraging membership enrollment, and volunteering with and participating in MuBANY sponsored events.

    If I were to be elected as Treasurer, my hope is to build on all of the work that has been done to date and further institutionalize the knowledge and resources we currently have. I also want to focus on developing additional fundraising sources, increase community prominence through additional social events, and strengthen the organization’s links to the broader New York community.

    Secretary

    Saima Zuberi Sheikh

    I am Saima Sheikh, and I seek your vote for Secretary of MuBANY. I am an Employment Associate at Baker Hostetler and a current MuBANY Director. Prior to that, I was Co-Chair of MuBANY’s Women’s Committee.

    As a MuBANY Director, it has been my pleasure to strengthen the social/networking and charitable efforts of the organization. I organized several social mixers for our members and larger community. These mixers brought new members to our organization, forged and strengthened relationships among existing members, and presented opportunities for our members to get to know local judges in a casual setting. I also spearheaded efforts to partner with a charitable community organization called Muslim Volunteers for New York.

    I have also leveraged my experience as an employment lawyer to strengthen MuBANY’s professional and advocacy efforts. Last year, I helped to revise MuBANY’s Islam in the Workplace Guide. As a former Women’s Committee Co-Chair, I collaborated with leaders of local minority bar associations to organize a panel discussion for diverse female attorneys. I also hosted a networking mixer, connecting our junior and senior female members. These are all efforts I seek to continue.

    As Secretary of MuBANY, I hope to guide its membership into the next term. I recognize that a post-COVID-19 world will present new challenges and our members will be interested in new issues. I have seen firsthand through my employment practice how the COVID-19 crisis has affected our communities. I am committed to understanding our membership’s unique needs during this time and providing relevant and resourceful content.

    I also bring to MuBANY the perspective and resources of a senior associate in private practice. My firm supports my involvement in MuBANY and has hosted several MuBANY events in years past. On a personal level, I am highly organized, pay attention to detail, and possess strong social skills. It would be my privilege to serve as your next MuBANY Secretary.

    Directors (in alphabetical order)

    Waleed Abbasi

    Now more than ever we are faced with an uncertain world and an unsteady path before us. During these difficult times leadership and advocacy must merge as one. They must be strong and compassionate. We must serve those that need us and we must put our constituency above ourselves. As a MuBANY board director I have been and will continue to be your advocate. I will serve to advance the position of legal professionals and the communities from which we hail. Thank you for participating in this voting process. Thank you for making your voice heard. I would be honored to serve as part of MuBANY's leadership once more.

    Farhana Hassan Choudhury

    My name is Farhana Hassan Choudhury and I am currently a Housing Fellow, rotating between the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC). As a Housing Fellow, I am learning firsthand about the City’s efforts to create and preserve affordable housing by working in divisions such as New Construction Finance, Capital Markets, Legal, Neighborhood Planning, and more. Upon completing this program, I plan to become a practicing real estate attorney with a concentration in affordable housing finance and community development.

    With the weight of the bar exam behind me, I became more involved with MuBANY and I am so glad I did. My experiences thus far have been participating in MuBANY meetings, volunteering at the social mixers, and working with the Judiciary Committee to invite members of the judiciary to join us for the annual gala. During this time, I quickly grew to appreciate the hard work and dedication of MuBANY’s officers and directors to build partnerships across sectors and professional organizations and support Muslim lawyers and law students. It would be my privilege to take my involvement one step further and serve as a director engaged in developing and executing the vision for future events and initiatives.

    If given the opportunity, I hope to use my professional experiences in community outreach and advocacy to help MuBANY build coalitions and introduce special initiatives on matters important to our members especially during these unprecedented times. I would also draw on my experiences as a recent law graduate and student leader, to help increase engagement with law students and support their professional development as they navigate the challenges created by COVID-19. Lastly, I would continue to work with the Judiciary Committee and take on responsibilities with the Annual Gala Committee and the Women’s Committee to help further diversify and strengthen MuBANY’s footprint in the New York area and beyond.

    Thank you for considering my candidacy for a director position.

    Thamanna Hussain

    My name is Thamanna Hussain and I am a first year litigation associate at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. It has been a pleasure serving on the Board and working with such incredible attorneys. It would be an honor for me to serve as Director for the 2020-2021 term and continue my work with MuBANY.

    I was first introduced to MuBANY as a law student volunteer in 2016. I immediately felt a sense of community and wanted to actively engage with the organization. Since then, I have served on both the 2019 and 2020 MuBANY Gala committees and have been deeply inspired by the board and gala committee members. This year, I increased our social media presence, designed promotional materials, and helped the committee with all aspects of the gala. Together, we surpassed the sponsorship record of prior years. As Director, I helped organize and promote social events and public service roundtables, assisted in drafting public statements, and helped create a COVID-19 resource page for legal practitioners.

    If elected for the 2020-2021 term, I would like to build a mentorship program connecting law school students with experienced Muslim attorneys in the field. I have seen first-hand the importance of mentorship and have connected with legal professionals who have always given me valuable support. I believe our organization can increase its efforts to help first-generation law students of color, especially in these uncertain times. I would also like to build a strong partnership with law school Muslim student organizations and law firm affinity groups. Finally, I would like to continue increasing our social media and digital presence and build on our organization’s brand.

    I look forward to the opportunity to serve MuBANY once again as a Director and would greatly appreciate your vote. Thank you in advance for your consideration!

    Maryam Jazini

    I am interested in running as a Director for the Muslim Bar Association of New York (MuBANY). I believe that MuBANY is one of the leading bar associations in the nation and it continues to play an important role in making sure that our communities are represented effectively especially as our civil liberties are continually being challenged. I believe that my legal and leadership experiences make me a strong candidate for this position.

    For the past year, I have been actively involved with the MuBANY. I served as the Chair of the Judicial Committee and along with our team, helped recruit a group of federal district court and Circuit court judges for the annual gala. I also served on the annual gala committee and helped with organizing this event.

    Prior to that, I served as the New York-Chapter President of the Iranian American Bar Association for four years. In this capacity, I oversaw various committees that helped organize galas, CLE events, represented community members on pro bono matters, and put together networking events.

    I have a broad range of legal experiences. From clerking for a federal district court Judge, working at a large law firm (White & Case LLP), a small boutique civil rights law firm, and now as an Assistant Attorney General at the New York Office of the Attorney General, I have experience with a wide range of legal matters. I am passionate to use that experience in helping MuBANY better serve its membership.

    Sidra Mahfooz

    My name is Sidra Mahfooz, and I am running for a Director position with MuBANY for the 2020-2021 term. Since graduating from NYU School of Law in 2018, I have worked as an associate at Debevoise & Plimption LLP,  with an active pro bono docket.

    Much of my pro bono work at the firm focuses on supporting Muslim American rights. Most recently, I worked on a lawsuit against the government’s use of the travel ban (“Muslim ban”) to retroactively deny visas to Yemeni Americans. I also worked on FOIA litigation related to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi to help increase transparency and accountability in the context of national security. Later this year, I plan to help organize a program with MuBANY relating to one of the firm’s pro bono cases on the FBI’s abuse of the No-Fly List against Muslim Americans.

    During my final year at law school, I had the privilege of serving as the MuBANY law student liaison. I served on the MuBANY gala committee, interviewed MuBANY spotlight members for the MuBANY newsletter, and assisted in organizing events to further community engagement and activism. As Director, I hope to strengthen the MuBANY community by organizing events geared to our members interests and create spaces for networking and mentorship.

    MuBANY helped support me during law school, not only through their generous scholarship program, but also by providing meaningful opportunities for growth and a network of amazing colleagues. I would be delighted to have the opportunity to give back to this organization through an active leadership role in a way that benefits our community. Thank you for your consideration.

    Subhan Tariq

    I'm not one who loves to talk about myself or my accomplishments. Alhumdulillah, Allah has given me the ability and desire to work for our community. I have been honored to be apart of MuBANY for a few years, and have been the solo/small firm chair for the past 2 years.

    This is a good time for me to pass the baton to someone else and to grow a bit more into MuBANY. I was always taught that the purpose of Islamic work is to attract more people to the cause and ultimately find a replacement for yourself while you find more issues that need to be addressed.

    I look forward to being apart of MuBANY whether or not I'm a board member. We stand on the shoulders of giants who built our institutions and communities, now is our time to continue to build for the future generations of Muslim Lawyers in New York.

    Maimoona Zia

    It has been my pleasure to serve MuBANY in an official capacity for the past three years: twice as a Director, for the 2019-2020 and 2018-2019 term, and once as Membership Chair for the term prior to that. I am now requesting your vote for Director for this upcoming 2020-2021 term.

    During my tenure at MuBANY, I have concentrated my efforts on two closely related goals: (i) help position MuBANY as an impactful professional association in the wider NY legal and Muslim community; and (ii) be of service to our membership, including by exploring interesting networking and professional development opportunities.

    In pursuit of the first goal, I have aimed to strengthen MuBANY’s partnership with other bar associations and Muslim community organizations. For example, I have served as MuBANY's liaison to the New York City Bar Association, where I serve on the diversity and inclusion award selection committee. In this position, I aim to help strengthen MuBANY's visibility and commitment to the values of diversity and inclusion by assisting the committee in selecting, interviewing, and awarding lawyers who have made remarkable efforts towards increasing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. Similarly, as another example, I have co-led MuBANY’s efforts to coordinate with Turning Point for Women and Families, a non-profit organization that assists Muslim women and girls affected by domestic violence. In this role, I helped finalize a "Know Your Rights" panel event comprised of experts in the legal, medical, and social work fields for the benefit of the local Muslim community (the panel has been currently postponed due to COVID-19).

    Correspondingly, in pursuit of the second goal, I helped organize professional development opportunities for MuBANY's membership. For example, I co-organized an informal networking event at a local tea restaurant for MuBANY members to discuss the successes and challenges of being a Muslim woman in the legal field. Prior to that, I led and managed MuBANY's participation at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, where select MuBANY members observed international legal and policy debates first-hand and had the opportunity to liaise with diplomats, subject matter experts, and other non-governmental organizations to explore issues relevant to MuBANY's membership and provide reports to MuBANY on their observances.

    Finally, in addition to the above, I have also helped provide advice and support on MuBANY's wider strategic goals. For example, I helped liaise with the leadership of the New York City Bar Association by attending the association's monthly meeting for affinity bar associations. As a result of that participation, I helped advance MuBANY's goal of becoming involved in the judicial process by aligning with some of the association's efforts on promoting the judicial appointment process and access to justice.

    In light of the above, I hope you will give me the chance to continue to serve MuBANY as a Director, and to help continue to advance the goals of making MuBANY both an impactful professional association in the wider NY legal and Muslim community and an organization committed to the professional advancement of its membership.

  • 23 Apr 2020 7:27 PM | Anonymous

    Ramadan Mubarak! We are proud to share again MuBANY's A Legal Employer’s Guide to Islam in the Workplace  This guide provides an introduction to the religious practices and expressions of many Muslims and is meant to serve as a reference tool for legal employers when responding to the needs of their Muslim employees. We hope the guide will be helpful in informing legal employers about Ramadan and what it means for their Muslim colleagues.

    MuBANY Ramadan Letter 2020.pdf

    MuBANY - Islam in the Workplace (2020).pdf

  • 12 Mar 2020 8:22 PM | Anonymous

    After taking into consideration our community’s health and well-being in light of COVID-19, with deep regret, the MuBANY Board and Gala Committee have indefinitely postponed this year’s Annual Gala and Awards Reception. Later this year, we plan to consider whether to hold the Gala in the fall.  We hope to find a safe and enjoyable way to honor and celebrate our awardees' incredible accomplishments.

    For anyone who purchased an individual ticket, you will receive a separate email with instructions for receiving a refund. Similarly, Gala sponsors will receive a separate communication with next steps. 

    Thank you all for your support, and we hope we can celebrate at another time. In the meantime, we hope you all stay safe and stay informed via NY.Gov and CDC.Gov. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our organization if we can be of assistance at this time.


  • 28 May 2019 12:38 PM | Anonymous

    This year, we had a number of incredibly talented candidates who have demonstrated a real commitment to MuBANY.  Unfortunately, there were only five vacancies. 

    Please join me in congratulating the newly elected Directors for the 2019-2020 term: 

    Amin Kassam, Sania Khan, Saira Khan, Saima Sheikh, and Maimoona Zia. 

    In addition, our treasurer Sabila Khan, announced that she would be stepping down. Last month, pursuant to our by-laws the Board selected Mavara Agha to finish the remainder of the term through 2020.

    MuBANY would not have had our level success without the hard work and dedication of the current board.  Thank you for all your efforts. In particular, we would like to recognize Sabila and Yasmin Dwedar.

  • 06 May 2019 10:40 AM | Anonymous
    MuBANY is proud to lead 58 religious/religiously affiliated organizations in an amicus brief in support of the plaintiff in State of California v. Trump. The lawsuit seeks to halt President Trump’s re-allocation of funds to build a wall on the southern border.  Amici include congregations and houses of worship representing a wide array of faiths and denominations, as well as professional, civil liberties, and immigrant rights groups who work or represent faith communities. Thanks to our friends at Patterson Belknap for spearheading this effort. 
  • 30 Apr 2019 10:17 PM | Anonymous

    We are proud to share A Legal Employer’s Guide to Islam in the Workplace, a document prepared by MuBANY.   This guide provides an introduction to the religious practices and expressions of many Muslims and is meant to serve as a reference tool for law firms, law departments, and other legal employers when responding to the needs of their Muslim employees. We hope the guide will be helpful in informing legal employers about Ramadan and what it means for their Muslim colleagues.

    MuBANY - A Legal Employer's Guide to Islam in the Workplace (2019).pdf

    MuBANY Ramadan Letter 2019.pdf

  • 30 Apr 2019 9:00 PM | Anonymous

    Get to know the candidates running to serve as Directors by reading their candidate statements below. We have 8 candidates running for the 5 open positions. 

    Please make sure your MuBANY membership is up-to-date. All members that are current in their dues will receive voting instructions.

    Best of luck to all the candidates!

    Amin Kassam - Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel at Bloomberg L.P. 

    My name is Amin Kassam and I am currently the Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel at Bloomberg L.P. where I am responsible for the operations of the Legal and Compliance Department along with litigating and advising on issues relating to new media, technology, privacy, and intellectual property. I am also actively involved in Bloomberg’s diversity and inclusion initiatives and have made a concerted effort to raise awareness about issues facing Muslims at Bloomberg. For example, I led efforts that resulted in the Company signing onto a Supreme Court amicus brief challenging the Trump administration’s travel ban and hosted Bloomberg’s first ever panel discussion on Ramadan. I also concurrently serve on the Board of Directors of the New York Civil Liberties Union and was recently appointed to the transition team for New York Attorney General Letitia James.

    It has been my privilege to serve on the MuBANY Board for the past two years and I hope to be given the opportunity to serve again. As a Muslim lawyer for over 18 years, I believe I bring a breadth of experience that is unique to the Board having spent much of my time practicing as one of the first or only Muslim lawyers at the law firms and federal clerkships where I started my career. Indeed, living through 9-11 without the support of a significant community of Muslim lawyers was lonely and challenging and it continues to drive my desire to help make MuBANY an even stronger, dynamic, and more influential bar association.

    At a time when the rights of Muslims in the United States are under tremendous threat, I believe that it is critical that we build coalitions and draw upon allies in order to support our efforts to protect the civil rights of all Americans. As a result, in the past I have helped MuBANY to host a joint Eid celebration with the New York Civil Liberties Union, a moderated discussion with the Metropolitan Black Lawyers Association on Why Black Lives Matter to Muslims, a panel discussion on LGBT Asian lawyers and judges with the Asian American and LGBT Bar Associations, and an initiative with the City of New York to provide pro bono mediation services to Muslim communities. If elected, I hope to continue this work and create new programs that build bridges across communities, undertake initiatives to protect the rights of Muslims and other marginalized communities, and further enhance diversity and inclusion within MUBANY. Thank you for your consideration.

    Faraz Rana - Chief Legal Officer of Bread

    I'm the CLO of Bread, a regulated financial technology company. Having helped start the company some four years ago, I built out the legal and compliance functions. Bread now has over 100 employees and raised several rounds of funding.  Prior to embarking on the start-up scene, I worked in the M&A/private-equity group at Weil Gotshal for about six years.

    A former MuBANY Board member (circa 2011), I took a brief sabbatical to search for the meaning of life, and return humbly to my MuBANY roots with no answers.  My overarching philosophy for the organization continues to be one of community engagement premised on moderation, professionalism, and discourse.

    M. Shams Billah - Senior Associate at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP

    Salaam, my name is Mushfique Shams Billah and I am a senior associate at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP. I have been involved with the Muslim Bar Association of New York (MuBANY) for 10 years since 2009 when I was a law student and Asim Rehman, one of the co-founders and then President of MuBANY, introduced me to the group. MuBANY has played a critical role in my career and I would welcome the opportunity to give back to MuBANY by serving on its board of directors. With my track record of service and my views for the future of MuBANY, I strongly believe I would be an ideal candidate to serve on the board.

    My past service and future vision are built on the following three foundations: (i) diversity in the profession, (ii) interfaith allies and (iii) the strengthening of business relationships. On diversity, in the profession I strongly believe MuBANY is uniquely positioned to increase the pipeline of diverse Muslims students entering the practice of law. Not only am I a testament to that statement, but I am actively working hard to further that goal. With only one of two known practicing Muslims at my firm of around 300 attorneys, I was able to have the firm’s diversity committee sponsor the MuBANY Gala over the past two years. Because of that relationship and my involvement with my firm’s diversity committee, my firm is establishing a partnership with MuBANY to further diversity pipeline initiatives. In addition to the first MuBANY law student mixer hosted by my firm that I helped arrange earlier this year (rescheduled date to follow), we are also working with MuBANY’s student committee to host a panel discussion regarding on-campus recruiting this summer. I hope to continue this strategic partnership as a member of the board of MuBANY.

    On interfaith allies, I am a strong believer in protecting the practice of faith in the workplace and providing safe places for the expression of that faith. With these values in mind, I established the Interfaith Attorney Affinity Group at my law firm and am working with the current leadership of MuBANY to espouse that concept amongst other law firms and legal organizations throughout New York. I am doing that by assisting the current MuBANY board in updating the annual letter and Legal Employer’s Guide to Islam in the Workplace to facilitate the practice of our faith in the hostile environment that we currently live in. Interfaith groups and allies can help displace some of that fear and I hope to continue working with MuBANY to create stronger allies with sister bar associations and other legal and non-profit organizations.

    On business relationships, I am a proponent of strengthening the relationships between the growing number of Muslim in-house counsel and their counterparts that are external counsel. That is why in 2016 I co-founded MuBANY’s In-House subcommittee along with Tania Ali, Deputy General Counsel at Travelex and a client of my firm. Developing and fostering such relationships will only help strengthen the Muslim legal community and I hope to offer events and opportunities to expand such relationships as a member of the MuBANY board.

    I would appreciate your support and would welcome your assistance in helping me see these goals to fruition. Together, we can continue creating and fostering a resilient and robust Muslim legal community.

    Maimoona Zia Associate General Counsel at McKinsey & Company

    My name is Maimoona Zia, and I am an Associate General Counsel at McKinsey & Company, where I focus on technology transactions and related intellectual property and data privacy matters. I have been honored to serve MuBANY in an official capacity for the past two years: as a Director on MuBANY's Board of Directors for the current 2018-2019 term and as Membership Chair for the term prior to that. I am now requesting your vote for Director for this upcoming 2019-2020 term.

    As Director for the current term, I have been delighted to contribute to MuBANY's work. For example, I serve as MuBANY's representative to the New York City Bar Association's diversity award selection committee, where I helped the committee select, interview, and award lawyers who have made remarkable efforts towards increasing diversity in the legal profession. Further, I helped co-organize an informal networking event for MuBANY members to discuss the successes and challenges of being a Muslim woman in the legal field, and separately, am co-leading an effort on behalf of MuBANY to explore partnership opportunities with a non-profit organization that is focused on raising sexual violence awareness in Muslim communities.

    In my previous role as Chair, I also initiated innovative programming. For example, I led and managed MuBANY's participation at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, where two MuBANY members observed international legal and policy debates first-hand and had the opportunity to liaise with diplomats, subject matter experts, and other non-governmental organizations to explore issues relevant to MuBANY's membership, such as women's legal rights, and provide reports to MuBANY on their observances. Similarly, during my time as Chair, I served as MuBANY's representative to a select leadership development event, where I gained insight into developing professional opportunities for MuBANY's membership.

    If elected as a director for the 2019-2020 term, I will continue to (1) explore innovative and interesting opportunities that may be of benefit to our membership, like the networking, partnering, and professional development programs I noted above, and (2) help MuBANY strengthen its position as a significant professional association in the wider NY legal and Muslim community. I hope you will give me such an opportunity again.

    Saima Sheikh Employment Litigation Associate at Baker Hostetler

    My name is Saima Sheikh. I am the current co-chair of MuBANY’s Women’s Committee and am seeking a directorship position for the 2019-2020 term. I practice employment law as an associate at Baker Hostetler. As a Director, I would continue to strive for the goals I have sought as Co-Chair of the Women’s Committee (relevant programming for our members and social networking opportunities), but I would also seek to achieve broader versions of those goals in order to spread the benefits to all our members. This past fall, I organized a panel discussion for diverse female attorneys at my firm that served as a platform to share obstacles we have faced in our careers as well as pathways for success. The event drew a large audience and sparked a lively discussion. This spring, I hosted a networking mixer for our female Muslim attorneys at the Chai Spot, which connected some of our junior members with more senior members, promoting mentorship possibilities and strengthening ties between our members.

    Beyond my contributions as Women’s Committee Co-Chair, I have also drawn upon my employment law practice at a large law firm to benefit MuBANY’s members. I helped revise MuBANY’s Islam in the Workplace Guide —a guidance document that advises employers on providing religious accommodations for Muslim attorneys. As a law firm associate, I am able to offer the resources and support of my firm, which has hosted MuBANY events and meetings, including a Women’s Committee event, a Board meeting, and also the upcoming Annual Meeting and Iftar dinner. I can bring to the table the perspective of a mid-level attorney in private practice and have connections to leaders of other minority bar associations, including the current president of AABANY, a partner at my law firm. I see tremendous value in working with other minority bar associations to advance our common interests.

    I hope to have the opportunity to guide MuBANY in its next term and serve you, its members, in providing events and programs of interest to you.

    Saira KhanDeputy General Counsel of Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners

    My name is Saira Khan and I am the Deputy General Counsel of Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners, a private equity firm that focuses on infrastructure investing. Prior to that I was a member of the in-house legal team at GSO Capital Partners, the credit platform of The Blackstone Group, and before that I was an associate in the Energy, Infrastructure, and Project Finance Group at White & Case. Outside of work (and through work to the extent I am able), I am committed to supporting initiatives that focus on increasing diversity and encouraging community building in New York city. I am also passionate about promoting both education and the arts and am involved with a number of non-profit organizations that further these causes and have been key to their fundraising efforts.

    I have been a MuBANY member for the last two years and wanted to become more involved, so this year I co-chaired the MuBANY Annual Gala with Sania Khan. The experience was one where we put in an incredible amount of time and effort over the past few months to help ensure the event's success (we raised a record breaking amount of money, and there was an increase in firm sponsorship and judiciary attendance), but more importantly I was able to work closely with members of MuBANY and see firsthand how critical the organization is to creating a space in New York for Muslims - both lawyers and the community at large - and to bringing attention to necessary initiatives. I am inspired by all of the gala committee members and board members I had the privilege to work with and hope to continue to give back to the organization.

    As a MuBANY director, I want to increase the support of the organization by law firms and private sector companies who could benefit MuBANY not just financially but through their existing networks in the city. I also want to leverage the existing relationships I have at these firms and with their affinity / diversity organizations to help create programming for law students and recent graduates who are interested in working at firms or as in-house counsel. I hope to help increase partnerships with other minority bar organizations to further elevate MuBANY's presence in the legal community and hope to support MuBANY's plans to to increase engagement with New York's political leadership and judiciary. Finally, I hope to support efforts to increase and further diversify MuBANY's membership and outreach through planning smaller networking events ahead of next year's Annual Gala.

    Thank you for your consideration, and I would be happy to discuss any of the above in further detail if you have any questions.

    Sania KhanAssistant Attorney General at the New York State Attorney General’s Office

    I am an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Bureau at the New York State Attorney General’s Office, where my practice is focused on anti-Trump litigation in the civil rights context, and separately on tech & civil rights.

    I have served as a Director with MuBANY for the last two terms, and in this past term - I served as Co-Chair of MuBANY's 2019 Gala. In those capacities, I assisted with MuBANY's public service programming, 2018 and 2019 galas, amicus sign-on efforts, and overall streamlining of operations. This past year especially, Saira Khan (co-chair) and I focused a great deal of effort on ensuring that the gala was successful. We raised a record-breaking amount of sponsorships, and were able to have many members of the judiciary attend - diversifying MuBANY's exposure and membership. I hope to build on that momentum this next term. My thoughts on what MuBANY can do next, include the following:

    • Create a Judiciary Committee and appoint a judicial liaison - this will ensure that we highlight any pipeline program opportunities to our membership and that we are in continued conversation with members of the judiciary, as MuBANY can be a resource where needed. 
    • Assemble experts in the civil rights and media spaces to hold a program dealing with the regulation of hate speech on social media platforms, or the internet generally. 
    • Identify avenues and ways to better connect with our sponsor firms - including collaborating with any affinity groups that may exist at those firms for social and professional programming.

    Thank you for your consideration of my candidacy!

    Waleed Abbasi - Associate at Landman Corsi Ballaine & Ford

    I am a second year associate at Landman Corsi Ballaine & Ford. My practice revolves primarily around litigating labor and employment, construction, products liability and financial services matters.

    As a MuBANY Director, I would work towards ensuring that the organization's vision is clear and that progress is made towards achieving that vision. This vision would entail further involvement in assisting law students in developing and navigating their careers, increased networking opportunities for practicing attorneys, and enhanced visibility for Muslim attorneys.

  • 30 Oct 2018 10:41 AM | Anonymous

    The Muslim Bar Association of New York (MuBANY) is truly saddened and horrified by the attack on the Tree of Life congregation. Our prayers go out to the victims, their families, the first responders, and the people of Pittsburgh.  This insidious attack upon a house of worship, a sacred place, is especially jarring.  In recent years, a growing number of congregations across our country have been targets of gun violence and hate. White supremacists murdered six Sikh Americans in Oak Creek, nine African Americans in Charleston, and now eleven Jewish Americans in Pittsburgh.

    As we grieve with the Jewish community, MuBANY is committed to redoubling our efforts to take on hate.

  • 26 Jun 2018 11:18 PM | Anonymous

    For Immediate Release:

    Today the Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling upheld the third iteration of the Muslim ban in Trump v. Hawaii, thus allowing the President to partially fulfill his campaign promise of “...a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States…” While this is a definitive loss, there is something to be said for the fact that this decision was made on the third version of the Muslim Ban. It was mobilization, quick high-impact litigation, and protest that had an impact in fighting these executive orders.

    The Muslim Ban is an abandonment of our founding values as a nation. Since the implementation of this Ban, we have prevented families from war-torn countries to be reunited, students from seeking an education, talented scientists from sharing their research, and stopped people with serious illnesses to seek treatment. This is not who we are. We call on Congress to address any ambiguity in the Immigration and Nationality Act so that no person is prevented from coming to America because of their nationality or religion.

    Although this is a troubling decision, we must stay committed as a legal community to challenging and making our voices heard on issues threatening all communities. As we reflect on the ramifications of this harmful decision, please join us at a community forum Thursday, June 28th at 7pm to discuss the implications of the Muslim Ban. This is co-sponsored by MUBANY, the Council on American Islamic Relations New York (CAIR-NY), and the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU).  To learn more and to register please click on this link: https://go.peoplepower.org/event/action/14497?source=map&akid.

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